During the week of June 21 through 25, Marine Law Enforcement officers from around the state will be learning and perfecting their drift boating skills on the Rogue River. Students will learn to swim in whitewater, study hydrodynamics, practice rescue techniques, navigate Class III whitewater, and operate in remote environments from drift boats, rafts, and catarafts.
Running whitewater is a perishable skill and requires constant training and practice so law enforcement can respond to emergencies quickly and confidently.
“There’s no training like it anywhere else in the country, says Eddie Persichetti, Law Enforcement Training Coordinator for the Marine Board. “Experienced instructors from around the state help guide the way for the less experienced students.” Each day the students drift various river sections. Persichetti adds, “Day one we begin with classroom instruction, self-rescue techniques in the water, rope rescue techniques, and dewatering drills. On days two through five, we focus students’ attention on reading white water. It’s incredibly important to see the whole run vs. the next ten feet in front of the boat.
As the week progresses, instructors build on the skills from the day before and then move on to more advanced skills with more difficult rapids throughout the week. The key is to develop the skillsets and confidence in officers so they can safely patrol Oregon’s waterways and assist boaters in distress. The safety of everyone recreating on the water is our top priority,” Persichetti explains.
The training and experience the officers gain during this event provide a strong foundation for when they return to their waterways to patrol. “We also practice scenarios where students encounter boaters and guides who are not in compliance with existing laws,” Persichetti adds. “Oregon’s waterways seem to become more crowded every year and it’s imperative that law enforcement focuses on those boaters who are not in compliance and more so, boaters who are not being safe on the water.” Persichetti adds, “When the law enforcement students leave this training, they have a new respect and understanding for safety on the river, the people who run it, and who play by the rules.”
Recreational boaters can expect to see law enforcement officers drifting on the Upper Rogue from Lost Creek Reservoir to Touvelle Park from June 21st through June 24th and the Middle Rogue from Ennis Riffle to Argo Canyon on June 25th.